What do you think about perfectionism? Perhaps you, like me, don’t put much thought into its influence on your life. But, if we would consider it, we may find it’s something we strive for, deep within. Although we’re often unaware of this motive behind our thoughts and actions, would you agree it finds its way into our subconscious? This type of thinking and striving stems from feeling unworthy, unaccepted, or simply not good enough. Instead of resting in a place of acceptance, we work to attain it. What if, instead of seeking perfection, we mindfully choose to embrace our flaws as opportunities to be perfected?
Perfection = the condition, state, or quality of being free or as free as possible from all flaws or defects. (Google Dictionary)
Think about it – if we truly attained perfection, we would have no need for God or one another. Perhaps the perfect God didn’t design us with perfection in mind. Yes, He is constantly working with us to bring us to completion, but does not expect perfection until this life comes to an end. He’s planned for us to encounter the difficulty and frustration of our weaknesses, on purpose! So let’s consider what we can learn from these imperfections, and grow in freedom along the way…
When we try to measure up to any person or expectation other than what God asks of us, we are setting ourselves up to fall short. And when we expect others to be something they are not, we set them up to let us down. Either way, comparison is a stealer of joy. Sometimes we even make comparisons to feel better about ourselves.
We all have room for growth. Where you are strong, I may be weak, and that is part of God’s clever design! He planned for our lives to be woven together, reliant on Him and one other. If we can resist comparison and choose to think on things that are lovely and true in God’s sight, then we can live harmoniously with people that are different than us. Another challenge is to resist judgment.
God’s View on Judging
Imperfections in others can be uncomfortable. We notice weaknesses, character flaws, immaturity, and it rubs against something inside us. Sometimes we’re uncomfortable because it highlights a shortcoming within ourselves. We don’t like the challenge or uncomfortable feeling, but, the Lord teaches us to think beyond ourselves. He instructs us to choose humility and place others before ourselves. He asks that our concern be with keeping our own hearts open before Him and teaches us to pursue peace as often as we can. Only the Lord, through His Word & Spirit, can teach us to think this way.
In Matthew 7:1-5, Jesus speaks on the topic…let’s read it in The Passion Translation…
Refuse to be a critic full of bias toward others, and judgment will not be passed on you. For you’ll be judged by the same standard that you’ve used to judge others. The measurement you use on them will be used on you. Why would you focus on the flaw in someone else’s life and yet fail to notice the glaring flaws of your own? How could you say to your friend, ‘Let me show you where you’re wrong,’ when you’re guilty of even more? You’re being hypercritical and a hypocrite! First acknowledge your own ‘blind spots’ and deal with them, and then you’ll be capable of dealing with the ‘blind spot’ of your friend.
We want to please the Lord with our actions and we also don’t want to bring judgment upon ourselves by being judgmental. If we choose to judge instead of allowing God to do the job, we will be setting ourselves up to the very standards that we’ve placed on others. Instead, we can determine to “refuse to be a critic” by looking past imperfections and choosing to see ourselves and others like God does – completely loved and with unique potential that He’s placed inside each of us.
Reason For Our Imperfections
What to do with our own imperfections is another challenge. Thoughts of inadequacy come against us and leave us feeling unworthy, without value, and useless. We have to combat these thoughts with the truth. God let us know His thoughts towards us in Psalm 139 when He said that we are beautifully and purposefully made. If we believe that, then we have to consider that His design includes our imperfections. Our flaws are not a surprise to Him.
Paul beautifully explains the reason for our imperfections in 2 Corinthians 12. If we’ll become aware of God’s intention behind our design, we’ll experience a confidence in knowing there is purpose in our weakness.
Because of the extravagance of those revelations, and so I wouldn’t get a big head, I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations. Satan’s angel did his best to get me down; what he in fact did was push me to my knees. No danger then of walking around high and mighty! At first I didn’t think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me, ‘My grace is enough; it’s all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness.’Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become. 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 MSG
Acceptance Lightens the Load
The narrow way of walking with Jesus is not easy, but imagine how much smoother the way will be if we believe in His love and acceptance, as we walk with Him. He doesn’t ask us for perfection. He simply wants us to trust that we are accepted as we learn to surrender to Him.
Are you weary, carrying a heavy burden? Then come to me. I will refresh your life, for I am your oasis. Simply join your life with mine. Learn my ways and you’ll discover that I’m gentle, humble, easy to please. You will find refreshment and rest in me. For all that I require of you will be pleasant and easy to bear. Matthew 11:28-30 TPT
Imperfect, but With Purpose
Often, when we realize an area of our weakness, we assume it means that God can’t use us. But, our imperfections do not disqualify us from being used by Him. Not only do they help us resist pride, but they also keep us in touch with humanity and our need for Jesus and one another. We are imperfect people loved by a perfect God and it is okay to make mistakes. In fact, we can expect them!
So, when we mess up, let’s take our weak, but perfectly designed selves directly to the One who made us, loves us, and delights in us! Jesus made the way for us to come to the throne and be completely clean and accepted. His blood and sacrifice are enough. As God’s children, we can take joy in knowing that King Jesus is with us, smiling and cheering us on to keep running the race…not of perfection, but of being perfected!